Driver who died fleeing police had previous DUIs

EVERETT — A suspected drunken driver who crashed and died while fleeing from police on U.S. 2 near Index on Monday night already had seven DUI convictions and a previous alcohol-infused wreck.

Eric John Breum, 55, of Skykomish, spent nearly 16 months in a state prison after a 2009 felony DUI conviction out of King County, according to court records and the Department of Corrections.

In that case, he was driving drunk and rolled his car along U.S. 2 headed toward Stevens Pass.

Breum also had convictions for hit-and-run, resisting arrest, malicious mischief and driving with a suspended license.

King County prosecutors in 2009 wrote in court papers that, “(Breum) cannot or will not refrain from becoming impaired and driving. He is a danger to the public.”

Breum died Monday when his pickup crossed the center line on U.S. 2 and struck another car about 6:30 p.m. At the time, he was being pursued by two Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies. Their vehicles also became involved in the pile-up. An 86-year-old Edmonds man was in the vehicle that Breum slammed into. His injuries were not believed to be serious.

Police had been looking for Breum after receiving 911 calls regarding his unsafe driving about 5 p.m. near Sultan.

Breum already had become one of a select group of drunken drivers whose history of repeated offenses makes them eligible for felony prosecution and prison time instead of being jailed for misdemeanors.

Breum’s 2009 DUI conviction was for a crash the previous year. Breum had been swerving and using the wrong blinker when he lost control on U.S. 2 on a snowy night, court papers show. People stopped to help him, and he walked away from the crash scene. He returned about 30 minutes later and was arrested after failing road sobriety tests.

Breum was in prison from June 2010 until October 2011, according to the Department of Corrections. He was not under active supervision.

Breum was the third person to die in Snohomish County during a police pursuit so far this year. More than 60 people have died on U.S. 2 between Everett and Stevens Pass since 1999.

The collision remains under investigation by the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team. The team combines detectives from around the county to examine cases where officers use fatal force.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449, rking@heraldnet.com.

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